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We Asked Toyota Camry Owners About The Most Common Problems (All Generations)

We Asked Toyota Camry Owners About The Most Common Problems (All Generations)

In this article, we’ll explore the most common problems Toyota Camry owners face across different generations, focusing on engine, transmission, steering, suspension, electrical, and interior issues.

Here’s the quick answer to get you started if you’re on the lot right now:

The Toyota Camry is known for a few common problems across all generations:

  1. Excessive oil consumption due to poorly designed piston rings, requiring engine removal to replace.
  2. Engine hesitation and rough running caused by worn spark plugs, clogged fuel injectors, or dirty throttle body.
  3. Automatic transmission hesitation and shifting issues due to wear on components, requiring fluid change, software update, or rebuilding.
  4. Power steering leaks from failing pump, hoses, or seals.
  5. Oxygen sensor failure causing rough running, reduced MPG, and check engine light.

Some generation-specific issues include:

  • Rear light wiring harness failure (4th gen)
  • Valve cover gasket leaks (5th gen)
  • Severe oil consumption and melting dashboards (6th gen)
  • Camshaft timing gear failure (7th gen)

The 8th gen Camry is still relatively new, but some owners have reported transmission hesitation and infotainment glitches. More time is needed to determine if these are widespread issues.

That should give you a good overview, but if you want to dive deeper into each problem, including symptoms, causes, solutions, and repair costs, keep reading as we break it all down.

Let’s get started!

We Used Real World Data To Create This List Of Problems

Before we dive into the most common problems, let’s quickly explain how we created this list.

First, we asked 387 owners (via Facebook) about their Toyota Camry to get a feel for what kind of problems they’ve run into. Yes, it’s a small data set but it is real world data that’s hard to beat.

All owners had their Toyota Camry for at least a year and we saw a wide range of mileage from 60,000 to 198,000.

Then, we turned to resources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many others, to review the most common complaints issues by owners along with the full history of recalls and active investigations.

Next, I fact-checked everything against my almost two decades of automotive experience working everywhere from dealerships to your local shops. Lastly, our team of automotive experts takes a closer look into each problem and breaks down why it happens, what you can do to prevent it, and how to fix it.

We review the data and interpret the results to make your life easier. Now that you understand how we came up with this list, we just have one more thing to share.

What 387 Camry Owners Told Us

Here’s what we found to be the most common problems based on our survey of 387 Toyota Camry owners (click to enlarge):

23% of owners surveyed had a 6th generation Camry (2007-2011), known for excessive oil consumption and melting dashboards. 20% of owners had a 7th generation Camry (2012-2017), with camshaft timing gear failure being the most common issue on the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine.

None of the owners had a Camry Hybrid and if you’re interested in that, I covered it in this article.

This can give you a quick visual look at the problems we see in the long-lasting Camry.

Problems Common To All Generations of Toyota Camry

Engine Problems

Oil Consumption

One of the most common issues you’ll encounter with Toyota Camrys across all generations is excessive oil consumption. You might notice that you’re constantly adding oil between changes, or you may even see blue smoke coming from the exhaust. This problem is usually caused by poorly designed piston rings, which allow oil to seep into the combustion chamber and burn off.

To diagnose this issue, start by checking your oil level regularly and keeping track of how much you’re adding. If you’re losing more than a quart every 1,000 miles, it’s definitely a problem.

In some cases, you may be able to reduce oil consumption by using a higher-quality oil or a thicker viscosity, but ultimately, the solution is to replace the piston rings. This is a big job that requires removing the engine, so it’s not cheap – expect to pay several thousand dollars at a minimum.

Engine Hesitation and Rough Running

Another common problem across all Camry generations is engine hesitation and rough running. Symptoms can include a lack of power, stuttering or stumbling during acceleration, and a general lack of smoothness. There are a few different causes for these issues, but some of the most common include worn spark plugs, clogged fuel injectors, and a dirty throttle body.

If you’re experiencing these problems, I recommend starting with the basics – replace the spark plugs and air filter, and use a fuel system cleaner to try and remove any buildup in the injectors.

If that doesn’t help, you may need to have the throttle body cleaned or replaced, or check for issues with the mass airflow sensor. In some cases, a software update from the dealer can also help improve driveability. Costs will vary depending on the specific issue, but expect to spend a few hundred dollars on maintenance items like spark plugs and fuel system cleaning.

Transmission Problems

Automatic Transmission Hesitation and Shifting Issues

If you’ve got an automatic Camry, you may experience issues like hesitation when accelerating, rough or delayed shifts, or even a complete failure to shift into certain gears. These problems are often caused by wear and tear on the transmission components, particularly in higher-mileage vehicles.

To diagnose transmission issues, a mechanic will typically start by checking the fluid level and condition. If the fluid is low or dirty, topping it off or performing a transmission flush may help. However, if the problem persists, more advanced diagnostics may be needed.

This could involve checking for error codes using a scan tool, or even removing the transmission pan to inspect the internal components for signs of wear or damage. In some cases, a software update may be available to improve shift quality, but if the transmission is severely worn, a rebuild or replacement may be necessary. This can be a very expensive repair, with costs ranging from a few thousand to over $5,000 depending on the extent of the damage.

Steering and Suspension Problems

Power Steering Leaks

If you’re noticing a whining noise when turning the wheel or finding spots of reddish-brown fluid under your Camry, you likely have a power steering fluid leak. This is a common issue across all generations, often caused by a failing power steering pump, leaking hoses, or worn seals.

To pinpoint the source of the leak, start by inspecting the power steering pump itself, as well as all of the hoses and connections. Look for any signs of wetness, dripping, or pooled fluid. If the pump is leaking, you’ll usually see fluid around the front pulley seal.

Hoses can also deteriorate over time, particularly at the connections where they can become crimped or worn. In some cases, you may be able to replace just the leaking component, such as a single hose or an o-ring. However, if the pump itself is failing, you’ll need to replace the entire unit. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a power steering pump replacement, while a single hose or seal will be much cheaper.

Electrical Problems

Oxygen Sensor Failure

If your Camry’s check engine light is on and you’re getting a P0135, P0141, or P0155 code, you’re probably dealing with a failed oxygen sensor. The O2 sensors monitor the oxygen content in the exhaust and help the engine computer adjust the fuel mixture for optimal performance and efficiency. When they fail, you may notice symptoms like rough running, reduced fuel economy, or even stalling.

Oxygen sensors are a common wear item, particularly on higher-mileage vehicles. They’re exposed to extreme heat and can become contaminated over time, leading to premature failure. In most cases, the solution is to simply replace the failed sensor.

However, it’s important to diagnose the issue properly and determine which sensor is at fault. Most Camrys have at least two O2 sensors (one before and one after the catalytic converter), and some models may have as many as four. A scan tool can help you pinpoint which sensor is triggering the code. Expect to pay around $200-300 for a new oxygen sensor, including labor. It’s also a good idea to check for any exhaust leaks that could be causing premature O2 sensor failure.

Problems Specific To 4th Generation Toyota Camry (1997-2001)

Electrical Problems

Rear Light Wiring Harness Failure

One problem that seems to plague 4th gen Camrys in particular is failure of the rear light wiring harness. If you’re experiencing issues like no brake lights, tail lights, or reverse lights, or even problems with the cruise control or transmission shifter, a damaged wiring harness could be to blame.

The issue stems from the location of the harness, which runs from the trunk lid to the body of the car. Over time, repeated opening and closing of the trunk can cause the wires to break or fray, leading to a loss of electrical connection. In some cases, you may be able to visually inspect the harness and see obvious damage.

Alternatively, a multimeter can be used to check for continuity in the affected circuits. If the harness is damaged, the best solution is to replace it entirely. This isn’t a hugely expensive fix, but it can be a bit time-consuming due to the location of the harness. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for parts and labor.

Problems Specific To 5th Generation Toyota Camry (2002-2006)

Engine Problems

Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

5th gen Camrys, particularly those with the V6 engine, are known to develop leaks from the valve cover gaskets. You might notice an oily smell from the engine bay, or even see smoke coming from the engine compartment due to oil dripping onto hot components.

The valve covers sit on top of the cylinder heads and have gaskets that can deteriorate over time, allowing oil to seep out. On the 5th gen Camry, the gaskets seem to be especially prone to failure, likely due to the material they’re made from.

To fix the problem, the valve covers need to be removed and the old gaskets replaced. It’s a relatively straightforward job for a mechanic, but it can be a bit tricky due to the location of the covers. If you’re lucky, you might catch the leak early and just need to replace the gaskets.

However, if the leak has been going on for a while, you may also need to clean off the buildup of oil and grime from the engine. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this repair, depending on whether you need one or both gaskets replaced.

Problems Specific To 6th Generation Toyota Camry (2007-2011)

Engine Problems

Excessive Oil Consumption

While oil consumption is a problem that affects all Camry generations, it seems to be especially prevalent in the 6th gen models. Many owners have reported burning through a quart of oil every 1,000 miles or less, which is far from normal.

The root cause of this issue is likely the piston rings, which are responsible for sealing the combustion chamber and preventing oil from seeping past.

On these models, the rings seem to be prone to premature wear, leading to excessive oil consumption. In some cases, the problem can get so bad that it leads to complete engine failure if the oil level gets too low. Toyota did issue a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for this problem, which involves replacing the piston rings with an updated design.

However, the fix is only covered under warranty up to a certain mileage, and it’s a very labor-intensive job that requires removing the engine. If you’re out of warranty, you could be looking at a repair bill of several thousand dollars.

The best way to prevent catastrophic engine damage is to keep a close eye on your oil level and top it off frequently if needed. Some owners have also reported success with using higher-viscosity oil or oil additives to help reduce consumption.

Interior Problems

Melting Dashboard

A somewhat bizarre issue that affects some 6th gen Camrys is a melting dashboard. You might notice a sticky, shiny surface on the dash, or even see it beginning to warp and bubble up in the heat.

The problem seems to stem from a defect in the dashboard material itself, which can soften and deform when exposed to high temperatures. This is most commonly seen in cars that are parked in direct sunlight, particularly in hot climates.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for this issue other than replacing the entire dashboard, which can cost upwards of $1,000. Some owners have had luck with aftermarket dash covers, which can at least hide the damage and prevent it from getting worse.

If you’re experiencing this problem, it’s worth checking with your local Toyota dealer to see if there are any active recalls or TSBs related to the dashboard. In some cases, Toyota has offered to cover a portion of the replacement cost, even for out-of-warranty vehicles.

Problems Specific To 7th Generation Toyota Camry (2012-2017)

Engine Problems

Camshaft Timing Gear Failure

One issue that seems to crop up frequently on 7th gen Camrys with the 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is failure of the camshaft timing gears. You might hear a rattling noise from the front of the engine, especially when starting up, or you may see a check engine light with codes P0016 or P0017.

The timing gears are responsible for synchronizing the camshafts with the crankshaft, ensuring that the valves open and close at the proper time.

On these engines, the gears are made from a composite material that can wear down or break apart over time, leading to a loss of synchronization. If the problem is caught early, you might be able to replace just the gears themselves.

However, if the engine has been run for too long with failed gears, it can cause damage to the valves or pistons, necessitating a much more extensive (and expensive) repair. To diagnose the issue properly, a mechanic will need to remove the timing cover and inspect the gears visually.

Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for the inspection and gear replacement, and potentially much more if there’s additional engine damage.

Electrical Problems

Bluetooth/Navigation System Issues

If you’re having trouble with your 7th gen Camry’s Bluetooth or navigation system, you’re not alone. Many owners have reported issues like frequent disconnections, poor sound quality, or complete failure of the infotainment system.

The cause of these problems is a bit of a mystery, but it seems to be related to the software that controls the infotainment system. In some cases, a simple software update from the dealer can resolve the issues.

However, if the problem persists, you may need to replace the entire infotainment unit, which can cost over $1,000. Before you go that route, though, it’s worth trying a few basic troubleshooting steps. Make sure your phone’s

Bluetooth software is up to date, and try deleting and re-pairing the phone with the car. If you’re having issues with the navigation system, try resetting it to factory defaults. If none of that helps, it’s probably time to visit the dealer for a more in-depth diagnosis. Just be prepared for a potentially hefty repair bill if the unit needs to be replaced.

Problems Specific To 8th Generation Toyota Camry (2018-Present)

As the newest generation of Camry, the 8th gen models haven’t been on the road long enough to develop a clear pattern of common problems. However, there are a few issues that have been reported by some owners.

Potential Issues

Transmission Hesitation

Some owners have reported a hesitation or shudder when accelerating from a stop, particularly in models with the 8-speed automatic transmission. This could be related to the transmission’s torque converter or valve body, but it’s hard to say for sure without more data.

Infotainment Glitches

As with many modern cars, the 8th gen Camry’s infotainment system has been known to experience occasional glitches or freezes. This could be due to software bugs or compatibility issues with certain phones or apps.

Caveat: Insufficient Data

It’s important to note that these issues are based on a relatively small sample size, and it’s too early to say whether they represent widespread problems with the 8th gen Camry. As more of these cars accumulate miles and age, a clearer picture of their common issues will likely emerge. For now, it’s best to approach any reported problems with a degree of caution and wait for more data before drawing any firm conclusions.


Even a car as reliable as the Toyota Camry can experience problems over the years. From oil consumption and transmission issues to electrical gremlins and interior defects, each generation has its own set of potential pitfalls.

In my experience, many of these issues tend to crop up as Camrys approach or exceed the 100,000-mile mark. That’s a reminder that even the most well-built vehicles require regular maintenance and care.

If you own a Camry or are considering buying one, stay informed about the common problems for your specific generation and model year. Keep up with regular maintenance and don’t ignore warning signs like unusual noises, smells, or dashboard lights. By catching potential issues early, you can minimize the risk of more serious problems down the road.

At the end of the day, the Toyota Camry remains one of the most popular and reliable cars on the road. By staying informed and proactive about maintenance and repairs, you can enjoy all the benefits of Camry ownership while minimizing the potential headaches along the way.

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